This week is quickly drifting into the weekend, which must mean it’s time for First Line Friday! Each week I grab a book from my shelf (or from wherever it’s wandered off to) and share the first line or so. They might be quotes from my TBR pile or an old favorite or even a book I’m not particularly fond of.
For this week’s line, I dove into a stack of picture books and walked away thinking about history.
Central Park in Manhatten is green and growing and full of life. It’s a vibrant jewel at the heart of New York City, but it wasn’t always this way…”
Picture books are remarkable in that they require the creator to tell a story in few, if any, words. Authors are tasked with boiling a story down to a succinct, compelling narrative with a complete arc. A lot of people think they can do it, but it’s a complicated skill to perfect.
That’s why it’s always remarkable when authors and illustrators take on the historical. Whether explaining a biography or an event, these individuals pare down mounds of research and fact into perfectly palatable books intended for a younger audience. These final products, when done well, can be absolutely astounding.
That’s the case with author/illustrator Ashley Benham Yazdani’s A Green Place to Be, which takes on the creation of perhaps the most famous park in the entire world. With gorgeously rich yet soft watercolor with pencil illustrations, she traces its beginnings as Seneca Village to a present-day landmark.
And it all starts with a tantalizing opening line, teasing the reader to turn the page.
A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park
Author: Ashley Benham Yazdani
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Classification: Picture Book
Yazdani’s Website | Publisher’s Page | Goodreads